Making a To-Do List that Works…

September 30, 2008 — Leave a comment

I am a To-Do-List-Person. Randy gives me a hard time. I used to be able to remember everything that needed to get done and do it… but alas, age, responsibility, and age have caught up to me. So now I use a To Do List to make sure that I don’t miss something (or at least so that I have a record of the things I do miss).

I came across this great article on Dumb Little Man today by Grace Kepplin (of Face to the Sun, a great blog) and thought I’d share it with you…

Write when you are fresh.
I finally discovered the art of the 5 minute list – composed after breakfast, before hitting the road. The items that I remembered then, away from the office, turned out to be the ones most important to the day ahead.

Keep the list short and simple.
Eighty percent of the value of anything comes from the 20 percent of the most important items. You just gotta figure out which 20 percent to focus on. That’s why you start fresh (see #1 above). If your original list has 20 items on it, save that list, but rewrite your new one with only the 4 most crucial items.

Eat dessert first.
To that list, add at least 3 of what Alan Lakein (in How to get Control of Your Time and Your Life) categorized as “C-Low priority” items. Make them things you can do in 10 minutes or less; do them first.

Put the list where you can find it.
I found that if I scotch-taped the list to the surface of the desk I always knew where it was. I just dug through the new paper stacks and voila! There it was waiting for me.

Start with a new list each morning.
Keep the old list, so you won’t forget anything, but reprioritize and start over each morning. New most important 20%, new three slam-dunk items.

Keep a bedside worry book—with a pencil.
Ever wake up at 2AM with that problem still tornadoing around in your skull? Write it down. Write down one possible solution, even if it’s only that you’ll work on it tomorrow. If you do it in pencil you know that it’s being recorded. Then go back to sleep. You’ll be much more refreshed in the morning. If the item is still important in the morning, add it to that day’s list.

Read the entire article HERE.

HT: Dumb Little Man


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Pat Callahan

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I'm a picker. I'm a grinner. I'm a lover. And I'm a sinner. I make my music in the sun.

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